The Sorries are Douglas Kay (vocals, guitar, bodhran, mandolin) and Martin Philip (vocals, guitar, bodhran). The duo sing, play and banter their way through a show inspired by the music of The Corries; performing a selection of tunes from that much-loved songbook as well as a few satirical comedy songs which cast a sardonic eye on present-day Scotland.
During the past decade Douglas Kay has honed his skills through tours to locations as diverse as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa and Europe, with performances alongside the likes of Amy MacDonald, KT Tunstall, Billy Bragg and Grammy Award winner Colin Hay. His extended travels have given him a wide range of influences and experiences which inform his performances both as a solo artist (Douglas Kay Band) and with The Sorries. He has also received further national radio exposure following the release of his third album as a solo artist.
Martin Philip has toured in Europe and America as front man of the groove trio Gecko3 playing the Skye Festival, the Redbourn Festival, Ca Jazz a Huy and Ronnie Scott’s amongst others. The trio have played support for Roy Ayers, The Quantic Soul Orchestra and Spanky Wilson as well as The Cuban Brothers. He also appeared as a singer on KT Tunstall’s first album Eye to the Telescope and was a backing vocalist for The Skids on their reunion gigs in March 2010.
The two formed The Sorries following a conversation during a tour of the Highlands where both Gecko 3 and Douglas Kay Band were performing. Coming from very different musical projects, Kay and Philip discovered a shared love for the music of The Corries. Over a bottle of whisky – though the two can’t agree whether this was on the beach in Arisaig or Ullapool – they decided that the duo is still an ideal format in which to present so many of the sensational folk songs in which Scotland is so rich.
The Sorries made their live debut in Edinburgh during December 2006. During 2007 they moved from the pubs of Edinburgh to the halls of Moray and on to Glencoe’s famous Clachaig Inn. 2008 brought sell-out shows in locations as diverse as Lossiemouth’s Warehouse Theatre and the Isle of Eigg Community Hall. In May of that year they also released their debut EP Live in Edinburgh. The duo finished 2008 with an Autumn/Winter tour of the Borders and played Aberdeen’s Lemon Tree in December.
The 2009 Homecoming Year was an exciting time for The Sorries, with a return to the Lemon Tree and an appearance at the inaugural Aberfoyle Folk Festival (alongside “the biggest names in Scottish folk music” Stirling Observer). August brought the release of their eponymous debut album: The Sorries was launched during a successful three week run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe when the duo played to packed audiences and garnered attention from the national press.
Late 2009 and early 2010 saw The Sorries play to delighted crowds in the Borders and elsewhere across Scotland, including a number of appearances at Murrayfield Stadium where they entertained home and visiting fans after Edinburgh Rugby matches. They returned for another successful run at the 2010 Edinburgh Fringe in August, with a fresh selection of songs and a few of the old favourites. Some of these songs were featured on the lads’ second album, Land of the Leal, where the duo developed their sound with the inclusion of mandolin on a number of tracks.
The Sorries played a number of special events and public concerts in 2011, including the press launch for The Dunhill Cup (at the Duke’s Course in St. Andrews), a fundraising banquet in aid of The Tay Bridge Memorial Fund, as well as the Edinburgh Fringe and a concert at the House Music Festival in MacGregor’s Barn, Kinlochard.
In the spring of 2012 the duo began work on their third album, Auld Lang Syne, which was released to coincide with the fourth consecutive run of shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Their most demanding schedule to date, with 21 concerts in as many days, this was nevertheless the most successful Fringe yet for Douglas & Marty with a string of sell out shows and a host of 5 star reviews in the press. This was followed by a return to the Duke’s Course at St Andrews and the year was rounded off with a suitably fun and rowdy Hogmanay gig in West Lothian.
Since 2012 the lads have continued to play a variety of both private and public shows, from folk clubs to the University of Edinburgh. They have toured schools to play short gigs for the pupils and explain a little about where the songs come from and how the folk tradition has been perpetuated and promoted through history. This is part of an ongoing scheme, since the response from both pupils and teachers has been extremely positive. With a growing interest in the history and traditions of these songs, The Sorries have also recently begun a series of podcasts – The Scottish Song Guide – where they discuss the meanings and history of both words and music from some of the most famous pieces in their repertoire, interspersed with snippets from the songs themselves.
Fringe audiences have continued to increase since the first year and the lads now play to well in excess of a thousand people each year in August, with shows at both The Quaker Meeting House and the Jazz Bar during the three weeks. Their fourth album Live at the Fringe was recorded in August 2013 and released towards the end of that year.
2016 will be their eighth year at the Fringe and they hope to gather more positive press and feedback from both press and audience members. Publications which have featured enthusiastic reviews and commentary on their shows range from Three Weeks and Edinburgh Spotlight, through to The Herald and even The Financial Times. Their lively audiences in August have included Bill Hill (who wrote many of The Corries’ comic songs such as The Portree Kid) and Ronnie Browne himself. Ronnie Browne was later kind enough to give The Sorries a very positive plug at the Book Festival launch of his autobiography That Guy Fae The Corries, so it seems neither Bill Hill nor Ronnie Browne were purely in the audience to keep an eye on their copyrights.